There are so many reasons why one would love African violets. They are easy to care for, produce wonderful blooms, and are so rewarding to propagate. Learn how to propagate African violets and grow your collection or share them with your friends.
There are many ways you can go about propagating African violets, we’ll show you step-by-step pictures of our favorite methods along with tips and tricks to make the process smoother. The success rate when it comes to propagating these is really high so you have nothing to fear. You will have your baby plants in no time. And you will have many.
Ready to start propagating? Read on!
How to Propagate African Violets
You can go about it by a few different ways;
- leaf propagation (water, soil, sphagnum moss…)
- crown cutting / plant division
- growing them from seeds
Do you need rooting hormone for propagating African violets?
You don’t need it, there is no harm in adding it but African violets will make roots just fine without it.
Once you have successfully propagated the plant, the care for the baby plant is the same as caring for African violet plants that are mature.
African Violet Propagation from Leaf
By far the easiest method and you won’t really hurt the aesthetics of mother plant.
The best leaves for propagation are mature leaves that aren’t too old. However, young and old leaves alike will be propagated just as easily. They might take a little longer to produce roots. So you can purposely choose a leaf for propagation or use any that gets broken off by accident – or, like in our case, gets broken off when the cat walks over the plant like a tank.
When cutting the leaf off, make sure to use sterile scissors or knives to prevent bringing any pathogens to your plant.
No matter what medium you choose for propagating your African violet, it is best to cut the petiole at an angle.
Propagating African Violet in Water
While propagating them in soil omits the need to plant them in soil, later on, propagating African Violets in water is a whole lot more fun as you can closely observe the roots and baby plants grow. It is completely normal to check the plant every 5 minutes to see if the roots have sprouted. That said, it can take a while before the first signs of growth, so don’t despair. As long as the leaf is healthy-looking, you are on the right track, even if you feel the bottom end looks a bit funky (almost like it would be decomposing a little).
Once you’ve cut your leaf (with petiole), just pop it in water. The leaf shouldn’t really touch the water, so make sure you pick the right container.
The water should be at room temperature. Tap water is OK most of the time, if you feel your tap water is heavy in minerals you can opt for filtered water instead. You won’t really need to change the water frequently unless it becomes murky. Top-up when necessary and change the water in a couple of weeks.
Place your cutting in a spot where it will receive lots of indirect light but not too much direct sun.
Now, wait and observe. After a week or two, depending on the season and the leaf, you should see the first signs of roots growing. But it can absolutely take more time; these can take their time, much like propagating a ZZ plant can take a while. Remember, as long as the leaf is firm and healthy, there is a chance for roots to grow.
First Root after Two Weeks
One of our leaves made its first root! The other two didn’t have any signs of roots yet. The second one started showing roots a few days. The third one, however, took over two weeks more (this was an ancient leaf).
The roots are progressing nicely on the first two. The photograph isn’t showing this the best, but the third one does look quite brown and mushy, but it will still make roots (soon).
After a while, all 3 made roots, and they are all growing stronger each day! You can notice new growth daily, so this really is a fun process to observe.
2 Months Later
After roughly two months, the first baby plants started appearing (in what seemed like an overnight thing). The roots are nice and strong, and from this moment on, things will start moving faster.
3 Weeks More
After roughly 3 more weeks, there are a ton of nicely grown baby plants present. Interestingly the oldest leaf that took the longest time to produce roots produced the most baby plants.
When your water propagated African violets reach this size, you can already pop them in soil, or you can return them into water and wait a little longer.
Separate the Baby Plant From Leaf
Gently separate the baby plant (with roots) from the petiole of the old leaf. You should be able to do it with your fingers, but if you are uncomfortable and fear you might damage the new plant, you can also cut away the old leaf. Just be sure to use sterilized tools.
Plant the baby plant in soil. General potting soil will be OK, but you can also get specialized soil for African violets.
Fill a small pot with soil.
Poke a hole in the middle (pencils are great for this).
Carefully place the baby plant in soil and cover the roots that might be poking out with soil. Water a little, don’t soak the soil.
When propagating plants, as the last step, we like to place the baby plants into a ziplock for a while. This will lock in the moisture and also keep any potential pests away. In the first couple of days, your baby plant might look a bit poorly but should bounce back and continue growing soon.
This is the plant after a week.
Propagating African Violet in Soil
How to propagate African violets in soil? Same as in water, just with less root observation. Cut the petiole the same way as you would for propagating it in water.
Fill a pot with potting soil and stick the leaf in. I shouldn’t be too deep. But even if you pushed it in too deep you can “correct” this issue later on.
The most hassle-free way of propagating African violets in the soil is to pop the pots with your plants into a clear container.
This way, you won’t have to worry about the watering routine as the water is locked in. Do open up the container every week or two to let the fresh air get in and to add water if necessary.
You can use any container, really, as long as it’s clear. This particular one is from a takeaway salad. Really handy!
Now all there is to do is wait. The roots will start developing relatively fast. Once the plant is secured with roots, you can remove some of the top layer of soil (really carefully) if you feel you’ve planted your leaf petiole too deep.
After weeks of waiting (months really) you will start seeing baby plants coming out of the soil.
Once the baby plants are big enough you can remove the old leaf. Cut it away with clean sharp scissors or knives.
You can absolutely try propagating the same leaf again.
How to Propagate African Violets by Separation (Crown or Pups)
If your African violet has multiple crowns or you see baby plants growing you can separate them from the mother plant (the separated part needs to have it’s own root system) and plant them into a new planter.
There! Now you know how to propagate African violets! 🙂